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March 2015

The Multichannel mandate: Ready, set, automate

The need to connect with customers across multiple channels has made it harder than ever to analyze customer data and provide much-needed services that improve the customer experience. This e-book series helps organizations navigate knotty technology issues that must be traversed to be truly multichannel. The first chapter explores contact-center automation -- and how to deploy it effectively. The second chapter reveals the critical ingredients in a successful multichannel business strategy. And the third chapter looks at organizations applying these strategies to not only improve customer relationships, but also increase their revenue.

CHAPTERS AVAILABLE FOR FREE ACCESS

  • Put automation technology to effective use in the contact center

    Customers get frustrated when they're forced to repeat information to contact center agents or are sent to the wrong department. And that's not just on the phone anymore. Customers use any number of communication channels to reach out to companies -- whether it's by smartphone, text, chat or social media. Automation technology helps organizations tie it all together -- and get a jump on customer service problems. Plus, the technology can help improve the quality and speed of service and shape the efficient, scalable contact center that today's multichannel environment demands.

    In this e-book chapter, CRM expert Scott Sachs explores the various automation technologies organizations need for a cost-effective contact center. First, he outlines the nuts-and-bolts technology needed for a solid contact center infrastructure that can respond to shifting business demands. Next, he looks at staffing and training tools that help effectively manage a crack team. SearchCRM editors round out the chapter with stories on self-service and knowledge base software.

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  • Going multichannel will improve customer experience -- but not without a plan

    Companies today know they can't get by with just a call center. And they know adding a website alone won't help much. They know where it's at: to improve customer experience, they'll also need a social media presence, a mobile app -- and they'll need to be reachable by text. A tall order, but nothing technology won't fix, right?

    Wrong. Technology won't do a thing for them without a solid business strategy, writes Banafsheh Ghassemi in this chapter of The Multichannel Mandate e-book. That includes identifying the right mobile strategy, breaking down customer data siloes and exploring new technology such as mobile wallets and geolocation tools. Only then will companies be able to provide seamless customer service across communication channels -- serving customers on the phone, on social media and on the website -- without a rep asking them to repeat information they've already given. That, Ghassemi says, is the secret to beautiful customer relationships.

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  • One company's plan for a comprehensive multichannel strategy

    Companies are constantly flooded with customer information across multiple media channels, including websites, mobile apps, social media and blogs. The key to improved service and sales is to tie together all of these sources of information into one comprehensive customer profile. Powerful integration and analytics tools can help companies gather and consolidate these channels of customer data.

    The problem is that most retailers say they can't profitably operate a multichannel strategy. "Multichannel is a promise," said Stuart Sim, an analytics consultant for West Monroe Partners, "but you can't deliver on the promise until you solve for the challenges of accumulating, collecting, making sense of and normalizing all the data streams you have access to." One high-growth company has plans to do just that by bringing together disparate information from various channels so that the company has a more holistic view of each customer.

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